by Susan Causey, FPD School Counselor
With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, I am reminded of a game we use to play when the children were young. If someone whined or complained, we would quickly remind them, “Let’s play the ‘Thankful Game’.” Then we would try to come up with as many things as we could think of for which to be thankful. Pretty soon we would start coming up with all kinds of blessings, and before we knew it, the mood was lifted. This game was so effective that we began to play it with our grown-up friends. It turns out that when we began to count our blessings, the frustrating issues at hand would shrink in perspective. Joy and thanksgiving to the Lord give strength and peace.
Interestingly, “Psychology Today” has published an article on “The Benefits of Being Thankful.” Across three experiments, researchers have documented evidence that gratitude leads to positive psychological, physical, and social outcomes.
“Psychologists Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough point out that gratitude is the ‘forgotten factor’ in happiness research. They point out the benefits of expressing gratitude as ranging from better physical health to improved mental alertness. People who express gratitude also are more likely to offer emotional support to others.” (Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D., “Psychology Today”)
“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I Thessalonians 5:16-18
Next time you want to grumble; you may want to play the “Thankful Game.” It works!
Gratitude Questionnaire (GQ-6)
Based on a sample of 1,224 adults who took the GQ-6 as part of a feature on the Spirituality and Health Web Site.
Using the scale below as a guide, write a number beside each statement to indicate how much you agree with it.
1 = strongly disagree
2 = disagree
3 = slightly disagree
4 = neutral
5 = slightly agree
6 = agree
7 = strongly agree
1. I have so much in life to be thankful for.
2. If I had to list everything that I felt grateful for, it would be a very long list.
3. When I look at the world, I don’t see much to be grateful for.
4. I am grateful to a wide variety of people.
5. As I get older, I find myself more able to appreciate the people, events, and situations that have been part of my life history.
6. Long amounts of time can go by before I feel grateful to something or someone.
1. Add up your scores for items 1, 2, 4, and 5.
2. Reverse your scores for items 3 and 6. That is, if you
scored a “7,” give yourself a “1,” if you scored a “6,” give yourself a “2,” etc.
3. Add the reversed scores for items 3 and 6 to the total from Step 1. This is your total GQ- 6 score. This number should be between 6 and 42.
Here are some benchmarks for making sense of your score.
• 25th Percentile: Someone who scored a 35 out of 42 on the GQ-6 scored higher than 25% of the people who took it. If you scored below a 35, then you are in the bottom 1/4th of our sample of Spirituality and Health Visitors in terms of gratitude.
• 50th Percentile: Someone who scored a 38 out of 42 on the GQ-6 scored higher than 50% of the people who took it. If you scored below a 38, then you are in the bottom one-half of people who took the survey.
• 75th Percentile: Someone who scored a 41 out of 42 on the GQ-6 scored higher than 75% of the 1, 224 individuals who took the GQ-6 on the Spirituality and Health web site one year ago.
• Top 13 percent: If you scored a 42 or higher, then you scored among the top 13% of our Spirituality and Health
Giving thanks: The benefits of gratitude “Why gratitude is good for your mental health”
*Published on May 25, 2010 by Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D., in “Fulfillment at Any Age.”
About the Author
Susan F.Causey lives in Macon and has served as our Elementary School Counselor at FPD since 2007. She received a B.A. in English Literature and Psychology from Vanderbilt University and an M.Ed. in Counseling Psychology from Georgia State University with a certificate in Biblical Studies. She is married to Harold and they have 3 children and 6 grandchildren. Susan enjoys hanging out with her family, being outdoors, going on trips, biking, and working with clay. Her book, “Put on Your Ruby Slippers, We’re Heading Home – Straight Parenting in a Twister World,” is a collection of her columns offering loving, practical parenting advice for today’s young families. Copies are available for sale in the Elementary Office for $15. For more information or to contact Susan, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.